Thank You, Mr. President, Your Crumbs Are Delicious

Well, I for one am breathing a huge sigh of relief that the Bush administration supports the availability of safe and effective products and services to assist responsible adults in making decisions about preventing or delaying conception—even if the Administration’s statement makes something as simple as birth control sound like a weapons-of-mass-destruction-related program activity. I’m not just relieved because, as a responsible adult who is not yet ready to become a mother, I can finally start having sex again. I’m relieved because now it’s official: we are living at a moment in history when the president of the United States will not use the words “contraception” or “birth control” for fear of offending his voting base.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was quick to ask some important follow-up questions in response to the Administration’s statement. Actually, I have a couple follow-up questions of my own. First, what about the 89 percent of us who believe that information about birth control should be more accessible? Why isn’t anyone afraid of alienating us?

Rush Limbaugh Detained … Not for Abstinence

Rush Limbaugh was detained for nearly four hours for ... get this ... Viagra. Known for his family values positions, this thrice-divorced supporter of abstinence is detained for, Viagra. Among his "35 Undeniable Truths" is, "Abstinence prevents sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy - every time it's tried." Rush Limbaugh also defines himself as ubersexual. Viagra of course is not the first pill popped by this purveyor of ideological rants, he resigned from ESPN after abusing Oxycontin, a drug used by chronic pain sufferers who need it, (a process made more difficult by people who abuse it), and by Rush Limbaugh evidently to maintain his bravado.

From his book See, I Told You So:

A truism I’ve often proclaimed is: “Liberalism poisons the soul.” Originally, it may have sounded harsh to some, trite to others; scintillating to the politically astute. Today, I am convinced it is more on the mark than ever. Here’s what it really means to me: Modern-day liberalism is like a disease or an addiction that literally has the power to destroy the character of the person who falls under its spell.

A Twist on the Adoption Option: Its About Choice

What exactly does it mean to be pro-choice? It’s as simple as respecting the rights of others to choose for themselves what to do when facing an unintended pregnancy. It means supporting women who choose to become a parent, those who choose abortion, and those who choose to give a child up for adoption. Yet, it is that last notion that seems to be causing quite an incredulous buzz.

Calling it “a highly unusual collaboration anywhere in the United States”, the reports of Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s move to share office space with an adoption agency.

New Bill Introduced to Repeal Failing Abstinence-Until-Marriage Earmark

Congress is finally responding to research showing that in a number of African countries, married women are at a higher risk for HIV than their unmarried counterparts. In light of this and other research, the time has come to repeal the abstinence-until-marriage earmark from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Ground-breaking legislation to accomplish this goal was introduced yesterday by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Jim Leach (R-IA), Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT), and 54 Democratic Members of the House of Representatives.

The “Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2006” (H.R.5674) repeals the congressional earmark that requires PEPFAR to allocate 33% of HIV prevention funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs.

More Questions on Contraception, Mr. President.

And while we have a string of posts going on the Bush response on his views on contraception,

What about adolescents?

Then there is the highly misleading claim on the 100% effectiveness of abstinence that the White House likes to tout.

Now that you've joined the conversation Mr. President, we'd like to learn more about your views. We're sure some of your supporters would too.

An Unsettling Answer from the Bush Administration

The Administration’s much-delayed response to a simple query from several Members of Congress is more confusing than clarifying. Led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Members asked the President, “Do you support the right to use contraception?” Shouldn’t be a tough one to answer.

But it took a year, several requests, and bouncing the request down from the President to the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS to find out that the Administration “supports the availability of safe and effective products and services to assist responsible adults in making decisions about preventing or delaying conception.”

On first read it might provide some comfort. But take a minute to think about it. Shouldn’t they be supporting products and services to assist ALL people to make RESPONSIBLE DECISIONS, rather than only responsible adults having access? But the next choice of words – selected over a year – is even more concerning. Notice that they don’t actually talk about contraception. And they don’t say products and services to prevent pregnancy – rather it is to delay conception.

But What About the Base, Mr. President? Maloney Gets Answer on Adminstration’s Support for Birth Control

It took more than a year and was done in such a way as to garner as little attention as possible, but President Bush finally gave a clear answer to a simple question ... does he favor birth control? Rep. Carolyn Maloney asked that question, along with Congressional colleagues, and reporters in the White House Press Corps, and our friends at Birth Control Watch, for more than one year. The response?

Andrea’s Internet Hall of Fame: Nine Remarkable Women on Reproductive Justice

Given the comprehensive assault on women’s reproductive rights currently unfolding in the U.S.—pharmacists refusing to fill women’s prescriptions for birth control pills; the FDA unconscionably dragging its feet on approving EC for over-the-counter use; governors from Louisiana, South Dakota, and Mississippi all recently signing or pledging to sign abortion bans; the new Supreme Court agreeing to review the multiply overturned 2003 federal abortion ban—sometimes it’s hard to know where the progressive response should begin.

Some longtime supporters of reproductive rights have responded by narrowing their agenda—suggesting, for example, that we rally under the common goal of reducing abortions as a means to expose right-wing extremity on the widely-supported issues of contraception and sex ed. Others, however, have decided that it’s high time to connect the dots, and instead of narrowing their agenda, they are gathering under the broad banner of reproductive justice.

The One Percent Doctrine and Reproductive Health

Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent Doctrine, has made a few waves in the media and blogosphere, and rightly so. Check out this section from it, as quoted by Maureen Dowd in yesterday’s NYT:

Mr. Suskind describes the Cheney doctrine: "Even if there's just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It's not about 'our analysis,' as Cheney said. It's about 'our response.' ... Justified or not, fact-based or not, 'our response' is what matters. As to 'evidence,' the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn't apply." (emphasis added)

I’m sure Vice President Cheney was referring to security issues, but it is amazing how similar that sounds to some Bush Administration behaviors in other areas. Consider the following as some examples.

While it might be legal, is it moral?

Because you have probably been asked that so many times before, I bet you thought I was talking about that age-old abortion question. But, I'm not. For me, this question is about the role churches and other religious institutions are playing in politics, and more specifically, anti-abortion churches. As an activist, I have always viewed the issue through a political lens. Yet recent comments from a leading Catholic Bishop and the IRS suggest that there is also a lens of legality and morality that can be used when examining the issue.